Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches Museum)

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The Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches Museum) is located on Maria-Theresien-Strasse | Burgring 7, Vienna 1040, Austria (telephone number: (+43)1-52177242, fax number: (+43)1-52177229). The building of The Museum of Natural History was designed by Gottfried Semper and Carl Hasenauer and it can be listed among the most representative buildings of historicism in Austria. It was built in neo-Renaissance style. Construction began in 1871. The building measures 170 by 70 meters and consists of two large inner courtyards surrounded by workrooms and rooms housing the collections. The Museum, which was built to house the huge collection of the Habsburgs, was opened in 1889.
The area of display covers 8 700 square meters. Visitors can “travel” through Earth’s history, the diversity of nature, back to the origins of human’s culture. As well as holding the largest collection of skulls in the world (over 43,000) there are mineralogical, geological, prehistoric, zoological and anthropological displays, along with a small children's section. The Museum houses around 20 million objects. Labeling is done in German.
On the first floor, animal world is presented. Visitors can see wide variety of animals, from protozoa to the highly developed mammals. A great number of stuffed animals are valuable not only on their own account but also as witnesses of nature and historical records for the history of science and the art of taxidermy. Some of them are more than 200 years old and one can find here also extinct and endangered species what makes the exhibition even more valuable.
On the upper floor, stones and minerals are exhibited. Besides them, items such as rare fossils and gigantic dinosaurs, as well as famous prehistoric works of art can be found here. To the most important as well as the most interesting and for sure irreplaceable items belong the 25.000 year-old figure of “Venus von Willendorf” (prehistoric stone figure which is named after the place in the Wachau valley where it was found), the skeleton of a Diplodocus (a dinosaur, the longest terrestrial vertebrate that has ever lived), a giant topaz weighing 117 kg and the valuable bouquet of jewels which Maria Theresia had made as a present for her husband (last two can be found in Gem Hall).
The Museum is opened daily, except Tuesday, from 9am to 6.30pm and on Wednesdays from 9am to 9pm. Besides regular guided tours (the tour costs 8 Euro for an adult, 3.50 Euro from a child from 5 to 14 years old and children under 5 for free), there are special roof tours during which one can enjoy a unique view of the old city of Vienna from the roof of the museum (on Wednesdays 5 and 6.30 pm and on Sundays at 2 pm and 4pm). There are also special guided tours for children.
If one would like to enjoy culture and culinary delights in the evening, the sweetest things are offered by Café Nautilus in the Cupola Hall of the Museum.
The architectural mirror image of the Museum of Natural History is the Museum of Fine Arts on the opposite side, which was also built according to designs by Gottfried Semper and Karl von Hasenauer.
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